Doctor examining a patient's knee

Tips for Speaking with Your Orthopedic Care Team

May 02, 2022

Whether you feel comfortable or perhaps a little anxious about approaching your medical team with questions, it is important to be prepared. Having a list of questions ready, before your appointment, will help you plan better and may help set you up for a more successful recovery. Consider the following tips while speaking with your orthopedic care team, from the experts at Beth Israel Lahey Health.

Understand the Extent of Your Injury

The first step is to understand the full extent of your orthopedic injury. You may want to ask the following questions to your doctor:

  • How will this injury affect my short and long-term mobility?

  • How long will recovery take?

  • Will I have any restrictions because of the injury?

Ask About Treatment Options

"Many people assume they will require surgery, but we can explore non-surgical options first," explains Steven Mattheos, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Anna Jaques Hospital, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health. "You want to ask questions about all the possible treatment options and risks."

As you explore these options, consider asking:

  • Will my insurance cover treatment?

  • How will you manage my pain?

  • What is the recovery like after treatment?

  • Will I need physical therapy?

  • When can I return to normal activities after treatment?

For injuries that could require surgery, you may also want to ask:

  • What can I do to prepare for the procedure?

  • How will the surgery be done?

  • What are the risks involved?

  • How long will I be in the hospital?

Ask About Planning Ahead

When you have an injury, it can limit your ability to do everyday tasks. Having surgery or other procedures can add even more restrictions to your activities.

"It's not just the medical part of surgery you need to plan for. There are a lot of logistics that come with it," says Andrew Banos, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Anna Jaques Hospital. "You really have to plan ahead when it comes to recovery, especially for older patients or those who live alone."

You may want to ask your orthopedic care team the following questions to prepare:

  • How am I going to manage my recovery beyond the first week?

  • Will I be able to drive, or do I need to plan for someone to drive me?

  • Will I need help around the house?

  • How am I going to get to physical therapy?

  • When will I be able to return to work?

  • What will my recovery be like at two weeks, two months, six months, etc.?

Bring a Friend or Loved One

It is normal to feel overwhelmed during a doctor's appointment. Consider bringing a friend or loved one with you to help ask questions and record the answers. You do not have to go through this alone.

Are you recovering from an injury? Learn more about Orthopedics Sports Medicine services at Anna Jaques Hospital.